Think you can write for the big six? Often called the Big Sisters, these women's magazines are: Better Homes and Gardens, Family Circle, Good Housekeeping, Ladies' Home Journal, Cosmopolitan & Redbook.
|The Big Six Women's Magazines|
You will find that
the editors are most interested in the "evergreen" topics --
which are the topics that are always in style. Included are subjects such as love, parenting, relationships, careers,
etc. Magazines are constantly looking for articles that explore these topics, but since they've been covered almost to the point of ad naseum,
magazine editors will start to twist in their chair when they hear "the same old thing". Conversely, their interest
peaks when they hear
a bright, fresh new approach.
Check out a few magazines on the topic you wish to write about -- then dream up a totally new approach. Can you think of an angle that's more contemporary perhaps? At the Canadian Copywriter , the consensus of opinion is that the best way to research a magazine (and its audience) is to read the advertisements. Today's women's magazines (and in fact every magazine) survive by sharply defining their audience -- zeroing in on exactly who is reading their product. The advertisements are geared precisely to the tastes of the people reading the magazine -- and this will tell you a lot. The ads should also tell you a lot about the editor (who is the person you must please).
of course, interested in different subjects than women (so the evergreen topics don't play well here). There
are plenty of girly magazines out there (hey, they need writers too) and then
there are mags like Playboy and Esquire. Writing for these
magazines can be very lucrative -- although it's not always easy to get a writing
assignment from Playboy unless your name is
Kurt Vonnegut, Isaac Asimov or
Ray Bradbury. --hey, but relax. Do your best to unforrow that perspring brow, my friend! There are plenty of other men's magazines out there --
from Time to Sports Illustrated. A very lucrative market, particularly for beginning
writers is the
hunting magazines. (pardon us, we
|Don't Make Promises You Can't Keep.||
Let's say you told your editor that you are capable of
writing a brilliant essay on the evolution of the universe. If you are convincing enough, she'll probably
say "Okay, why don't you go home and write a brilliant essay about the evolution of the universe". Of course, when you finally get
home and start to write, you might begin to think twice about your claim.
Perhaps your knowledge of the universe is lacking in some areas?
When you're hunched over your word processor and the ideas just don't seem to come, perhaps you'll ask yourself: "Do I really know the universe like the back
of my hand? Or was I just bluffing?
It's not easy to bluff
your way through the cosmos! If you do indeed find yourself on the wrong end of a little white lie,
make sure you have a few
cards up your sleeve -- like the telephone numbers of several
astronomers and philosophers when readers start questioning your arrangement of the planets.
Remember that there are only eight now (Pluto has been relegated to the cosmic "dog house").
All of this, of course, is an extreme example -- but we trust you get our drift.
Fulfill The Assignment Exactly.
Okay. You've presented your ideas. Now's
the time to listen to your editor's ideas. Remember that the editor's ideas
are vastly more important than yours (after all, she's the
one signing the cheques) so be sure you deliver on the editor's wishes.
Later, once you're friends, you can perhaps make a few mistakes
and you won't be drawn and quartered, or you
can slip in a few points that she isn't sure about -- but that's later when she's learned to respect your judgement!
Deliver on Your Deadline.
This is absolutely mandatory! Editors are incredibly busy people and messing with their schedules is something you definitely don't want to do!
|Always Give Them More Than They Asked For.|
Always try to outdo yourself. If you must jump through flaming hoops, then by all means jump through flaming hoops! For example, if your story needs checking, attach a list of phone numbers. If photographs are required, take the pictures yourself. If they ask why you took pictures, call them references for the real photographer. The bottom line is: make your Editor's life easy (or make her think that you're making her life easy). And keep doing it! When the galleys arrive, don't get all niggly-piggly about the edits. Don't take offense when the fact-checker calls. Above all avoid sending in bits and facts that you forgot to include after you submitted your finished article. Do all this (and more) and you're on your way to becoming your editor's friend. Who knows? Someday you might even get your name on the masthead. Best of luck!
If you want to write a great
magazine article, you must have a focused
mind --not only to write the article -- but to find the
material necessary to write it! This requires reading -- a lot of reading
and the real talent for writing a sellable magazine article is not so
much the writing (anyone can write) but the ability to sift through stacks of information to find a great idea. Believe it or not, there are a great
many magazine journalists out there who are still unable to do that!, You must constantly "keep your eyes peeled" to recognize a good story -- then run with it -- and by saying run with it, we mean researching every angle, then writing and re-writing your article. There's
no such thing as an idea that is "too crazy" or too
"small time". Even the tiniest morsel of information can be modified to make a worthwile money-making story.
recommends that you consider seasonal events such as "Christmas", "Valentine's Day", "Mother's Day," etc., as a starting point.
These holidays happen every year -- so the article you wrote
twenty years ago can be re-written with a more contemporary slant -- and still sell today.Consider too subjects such as Anniversaries. For example, the most famous anniversary right
now is "9/11". This was an enormously tragic event with a devastating effect on the
American conciousness. Dozens of books and magazines have been written about it.
Since 9/11 affected so many people on so many different levels, writers are still digging up different
perspectives on the event. One writer from
Florida recognized the potential for a book when he read about the re-routing of New York bound planes to Gander,
Newfoundland. He described the hospitality of the Newfoundlanders and the thousands of travellers who were
amazed and gratified by their kindness.
This book will sell. The writer can also cull his own excerpts to write magazine articles well into the next decade.
Okay. So now you've got a great idea. Now, how do you sell it? Again, the query letter is important. Suggest your topic with a flair and a passionated zing for your idea (without giving too much away). Make sure your letter is addressed to the proper person (or else it will quickly find the garbage pail). When you write your letter, try using the same style of writing that's in the magazine. For example, if the magazine's articles use short, zippy words, then go with that treatment! If there's a more serious, sombre style, then use that. Also, you might try looking at some of the "trash" mags to get some ideas on how to write your letter. "Trash" mags you ask? They're the magazines like National Star at the supermarket checkout. Their stories may be ridiculous, but the writers sure know how to grab your attention, don't they? And that's exactly what you're trying to do -- GRAB SOMEONE'S ATTENTION! For example, if your article is about garage sales, try a grabber like "I've had four garage sales this year and I've made over $4,000. Want to know my secret?" That would grab an editor's attention. Try sending your letter to someone who isn't quite as busy as the Editor, the assistant Editor perhaps. These people have the time to read your request and once this person likes your style and is on your side -- someone who champions you, a new and talented writer, you will be on the inside and on your way.
|Here's a partial list of the women's magazines in the States who buy freelance work:|
|Better Homes And Gardens. 1716 Locust St., Des Moines IA 50309-3023. Tel: (515) 284-3044. Fax: (515) 284-3763. Contact: Nancy Byal, Food and Nutrition Editor, Mark Kane, Garden/Outdoor Living Editor, Catherine Hamrick, Health Editor, Richard Sowienski,||
Education and Parenting Editor.
Needs: travel, education, gardening, health, cars, home, entertainment
959 Eighth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10019. Tel: (212) 649-2000. Fax:
(212) 266-3307. Contact: Judith Coyne, Executive Editor. Needs: Consumer social issues, dramatic narrative, nutrition, work, relationships,
||Ladies' Home Journal. 125 Park Avenue, 20th floor, New York, New York 10017-5516. Tel:(212) 557-6600. Fax:(212) 455-1313. Accepts articles on issues of concern to women. Cosmopolitan. 224 W. 57th street., New York, N.Y. 10019. Tel:(212) 649-2000. Accepts how to's, humor, opinion, personal experience articles. Articles range from 500-3,500 words.||Redbook. 224 W. 57th street, New York NY 10019. Accepts articles on social issues, parenting, sex, marriage, news profiles, true crime, dramatic narratives, money, psychology, health. Articles average 2,500 to 3,000 words.||Woman's Day. 1633 Broadway, 42nd floor, New York, New York 10019.
Tel: (212) 767-5610. Accepts articles on all subjects
of interest to women.|
Conde Nast Bride's. 4 Times Square. 6th floor. New York, NY 10036. Fax:(212) 236-8231. Accepts essays and how to's and personal experience articles. Articles range from 800 to 2000 words.
|Family Circle. 375 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY. 10017-5514. Telephone:(212) 499-2000. Fax: (212)499-1987. Contact: Nancy Clark, Deputy Editor. Accepts essays, humor opinion, personal experience articles.|
|Here's a partial list of the Men's Hunting Magazines that buy freelance work:|
1125 Waples Mill Rd., Fairfax VA. 22030-8400. E-mail: publications@
nrahq.org. Monthly magazine for hunters who are members of the National
Rifle Association. Terms: Features
run 1,800 - 2,00 words and pay up to $800 for
first North American serial and second serial (reprint) rights. Submissions: Send query by
mail with SASE or by e-mail to Scott Olmstead,
Fishing & Hunting News
Game and Fish 2250 Newmarket Parkway, Suite 110, Marietta GA 30067. Publishes 30 different state and region-specific outdoor magazines each month. Each covers hunting and fishing opportunities in a particular state or region. Terms: features run 1,500 - 2,400 and pay $125-$300 for first North American serial rights. Additional payment made for e-rights. Pays 60 days prior to cover date of issue: Submissions: Send query by mail with SASE to Ken Dunwoody, Editorial Director.
Rack Magazines. Adventures in Trophy Hunting www.rackmag.comBuckmasters Ltd., P.O. Box 244022, Montreal AL 36124-4022. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Monthly magazine (published Aug-Jan) for hunters of deer and other big game. Terms: Stories run 500-1500 words and pay $250 on publication for first North American serial and second serial (reprint) rights. Submissions: query by e-mail or phone to Mike Handley, Editor.
Trapper and Predator Caller
Turkey & Turkey Hunting (www.turkeyandturkeyhunting.com). Krause Publications, 700 E. State Street, Iola WI. 54990. Tel: (715) 445-2214. Fax: (715) 445-4087. E-mail: email@example.com. Bimonthly magazine covering turkey hunting and turkey biology. Terms: features run 2,000 words and pay $275-$300 on acceptance for first North American serial rights. Submissions: send query with published clips by mail to Jim Schlender, Editor.
Whitetail Business www.whitetailbusiness.com Krause Publications, 700 E. State Street, Iola WI 54990. Tel: (715) 445-2214 ext. 472. Fax: (715) 445-4087. Annual magazine that targets the white-tailed deer hunting market. Terms: features run 400-1500 words and pays $200 to $350 on acceptance for first North American serial rights. Submissions: send query with or without published clips by mail to Dan Schmidt, Editor.
American Archeology www.americanantheology.comThe Archeological Conservancy, 5301 Central Avenue, N.E., #402, Albuquerque, NM 87108. Fax: (505) 266-0311. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Quarterly Magazine covering important digs, prominent archaelogists, and science in general. Accepts: nonfiction mss of 2000-2500 words. Contact: Michael Bawaya, editor. Terms: Pays $700 to $1000 on acceptance for one time and e-rights. Submissions: Query with published clips by mail, e-mail or fax.
Conversely www.conversely.comPMB #121, 3053 Fillmore St. San Francisco CA 94123-4009. E-mail: email@example.com. Quarterly online literary magazine covering relationships between women and men. Accepts: fiction ms of 750-3000 words. Contact: Alejandro Gutierrez, editor. Terms: Pays $100 to $200 on publication for e-rights (90 days exclusive, nonexclusive thereafter). Also buys one time, nonexclusive anthology rights. Submissions: Send ms, or query by mail or e-mail.
Century. www.centurymag.com Century Publishing, P.O. Box 336, Hastings-on-Hudson NY 10706. E-mail editor@ centurymag.com. Semiannual magazine covering speculative fiction (science fiction, fantasy, horror and science fiction. Contact Robert K.J. Killheffer, editor. Terms: pays 4 cents per word on acceptance for first world English and nonexclusive reprint rights. Submissions: send complete manuscript.
The defence establishment is the number one audience for military magazines -- and the defence establishment knows its stuff. So, if you want to write for a military magazine, you better know your stuff too! -- otherwise you might feel like you're walking in a mine field with snow shoes on!
Parameters focuses on the science of land warfare, security, strategy and senior leadership. They will also look at military history pieces as long as they have a contemporary relevance (so if you're planning on a re-write of Cold Mountain, you ain't got no reason to bother them.)
Air Force Times
is a weekly newspaper that wants lifestyle issues that affect first-time enlisted personnel. They want pieces on barracks life, cars, clothes, nightlife and music.
Marine Corps Times
Again, you have to do your homework to write for Naval History. You don't need a military record, but you do need an understanding and respect for the military.
Soldier of Fortune -- http://www.sofmag.com
Don't even think of writing for these guys if you don't have military service. Pity the poor sod who shows up with even the slightest hint of ignorance. He'll be put on the wrong side of a rocket launcher.